Foot Ankle Weight-Bearing MRI
Foot ankle weight-bearing MRI provides stress views of the foot and ankle that is not possible using conventional non-weight-bearing MRI performed with the patient lying down. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the best diagnostic imaging test for displaying ligament and tendon integrity.
Conventional MRI examinations are performed while the patient is lying down without stresses applied to the the tendons and ligaments of the foot and ankle. Conventional MRI examinations demonstrate complete ligament and tendon tears or when the attached bones are displaced.
Some clinicians obtain standing radiographs(also know as X-Rays) in order to apply the stress of weight-bearing to evaluate for displacement or mal-alignment of the bones of the foot or ankle as an indirect sign of ligamentous injury.
Weight-bearing MRI with the patient standing applies weight-bearing stress to the display the status of the ligaments, tendons and soft tissues during the stress of weight-bearing. When body weight is applied, stress is placed on the ligaments that maintain proper alignment of the many bones of the foot and bones may displace, producing pain.
Tears of the lateral ankle ligament are common and involve the anterior talofibibular ligament (ATFL) and the calcaneo-fibular ligament (CFL). A severe form of lateral ankle sprain includes the distal tib-fib syndesmosis and is known as a “high ankle sprain” (HAS).
Current imaging protocol:
Recumbent MRI- no ligament stress
Standing x-ray- syndesmotic widening subtle
Weight-bearing MRI Protocol:
Stress views of syndesmotic ligaments
Analyze sysndesmotic ligaments
Evaluate for syndesmotic widening/displacement